La Fonte (November)
'The Extra Trip'
I don’t know why, but I phoned Perry and said, quite casually, how do you fancy another trip to France, maybe November? His response came back fairly quickly, ‘where to son’ so, it was on, a trip to France in November. Another phone call to Steve to see how he was fixed met with another positive response of ‘where and when’, November I replied, the where had to be decided. Yes it was going to be cold, it could be wet, but we didn’t mind as we have all the gear. Where to? was the next thing to sort out, on with the puter and start checking out some of the many locations I have saved in my bookmarks.
As it was November some venues reduce the price, some venues close altogether so a bit of searching was called for, I rather fancied doing this trip ‘on the cheap’ if we could? I found a lake called ‘La Fonte’ and another ‘Moulicent’ they were very near to each other and the owners were friends, both less than 4 hours from Calais, food option available, Bivvies and bed chairs for hire, (which meant we might all be able to squeeze into one car) and most important half price fishing from the start of November!!! Result!!! I had some bait in the freezer Mainline Pulse and Mainline Cell, I knew Perry and Steve should also have some, so the bait wouldn’t be a problem. We wouldn’t want too much pellet and I made a decision not to take any particle due to the time of year. Particle just doesn't seem to be so effective when the water is cold. The ferry, could all three of us get in one car? We would have to see. I made a few phone calls to the owners of both lakes and made a final decision on La Fonte, the only reason being that this lake is bigger than Moulicent and currently held some bigger fish, so November 8th was booked for the three of us. Now if we took just the bare essentials I am sure we could have done it, three of us in the one car, but Perry and Steve do like the comforts of home, I might add at this point, for this trip I was to fly back to the UK, get picked up at the airport by a mate stay at Barb and Tel’s Friday night ready for the off early Saturday morning. So I was to Hire a bivvy and bedchair and use Steves ballista's and Fox mmx alarms, the rest of the stuff I carried over on the plane. Perry wanted to use his own bivvy and bedchair so did Steve, out of the window went the idea of all going in one car! I left them to book there cars on the Ferry, then Perry drops a bit of a bombshell, can we go early Sunday morning he asked, they had tickets for a big charity ball on the Saturday night, I didn’t have a problem with this as I always believe in keeping em sweet, (the wives that is) that way, when it comes round to next time they tend to remember. Steve was OK about it too, so the ferry was booked for early Sunday morning, two cars.
Something unusual happened between booking the trip and going, I was diagnosed with a tumor in my bladder, the doctor said it seemed to be only small but it would have to come out, I went to see a specialist at the local hospital here in Spain who explained what would happen and that they would notify me of a date to go into hospital for the operation, as long as this would be after I get back from France all would be fine. I got back to Spain on the 18th November and they phoned the next day saying the op would be December 5th, I then had other appointments for blood tests, chest x rays, a chat with the anesthetist etc. etc. Still, all went well and I have to have another check up in March, back to the fishing.
After a very good crossing and drive to the lake we arrived at about 11.30am ready for some action. John gave us a little walk round the lake which is about 10 acres, there are only six swims on the lake so you do have a reasonable area to fish, he then transported all our gear to two swims on the far bank (from the car park) in his boat, a nice touch, as it would have been a bit of a ball breaker lugging the gear. Perry and Steve were to fish in one swim with me on my Jack in another swim just along the bank, two French guys were fishing in the next swim along, but were going Tuesday, so if we fancied a move Tuesday would be the day to do it. We had Sunday till Tuesday to start stacking em up.
Plan of Lake reproduced from La Fonte website www.lafontefrance.com
The weather was not that good to us, we had rain, wind, mist and fog and at this time of the year not too much daylight, it is so surprising when doing a week session in November how long the nights actually are, it wasn’t getting reasonably light till about 8.30am then pitch black again by 6pm (French time) during which time we had to have two big meals, a big cooked breakfast at about 10 and a evening meal for 5 to make sure we could bait up before dark again.
Steve had the first fish a 28lb common, a nice chunky carp in good condition, but the weather started to get worse, the wind was blowing a good un now and during the night some trees came down at the other end of the lake and by the road outside, why do we do this? John had to chop one tree up with his chainsaw at about midnight when it crossed the lane just a few yards from his house.
During all this wind, rain and storms I happened to have a run on my middle rod fished near to the opposite bank, this resulted in me landing a 6lb common and getting soaked in the process, to say I was not amused was an understatement, I didn’t feel too bad when I found out Perry had also landed a fish, his being all of about a pound, also a common.
Tuesday came and the French guys were leaving, they had had a few fish from the deeper water opposite there swim near the far bank, Steve and Perry fancied moving into that swim, this suited me as I fancied moving into a little single swim in the corner of the dam wall, my plan was to fish the dam wall, just dropping baits in along the wall by some bushes and trees that grew from the bank. I don’t know why but dam walls always seem to produce fish in these French lakes, not always the biggest fish but fish nonetheless and of course in these cold conditions perhaps the deeper water might be a better option.
I settled in, it was early afternoon and the wind had eased of a bit, I placed three rigs along the dam wall and within minutes the alarm sprang to life indicating a fast take to my middle rod, This took me by complete surprise as I was still sorting out my bedchair and tackle, after a few seconds the fish came adrift and I lost a fairly decent fish just a few yards out from the bank. A new bait on, a few pellets and chopped boillies in a PVA bag and a handful scattered along the margin and I was ready once again. I didn’t have to wait long, this time it was the right hand rod further along the wall just in front of a overhanging tree, A short spirited fight resulted in a fine looking mirror that pulled the scales round to 26lb 8oz.
By this time Perry and Steve were set up in there new swim just the other side of the lodge where we made tea and had our meals, John leaves the lodge open so you can make a cuppa any time you want or use the fridge for drinks etc. Just next to the lodge there is a charging point for mobile phones, torches or baitboats if needed.
After a good meal we settled in for the night, during the night I decided to swing my right hand rod round into open water just off the point where the bank leads to Steve and Perry’s swim, it was still there in the morning! No action from the dam all night, no action for Perry or Steve. It was starting to get light when the left rod which was positioned just past the sluice jerked slightly, I lifted the rod and carefully played a nice 21lb mirror into the net. It must be time for breakfast then.
After a good full breakfast and a couple of cups of tea we were all ready to get back to the fishing, Perry and Steve waddled back to there swim and I settled down into mine, as it wasn’t till early afternoon the day before when I had my previous action I took plenty of time placing the baits, just right at three spots along the dam wall. I used a PVA bag on each hook a size 5 ESP raptor, very standard rigs with about 8 inches of soft supple braid just lowered to the lake bed with a small scattering of pellets and chopped boillies over the top. It was now Wednesday the fishing had been slow, but the weather had been horrendous, still it looked like it was starting to improve, the temperature had risen a couple of degrees, the wind had eased off and the sun had started to shine, maybe we were to start catching a few.
Beeeeep the right hand delkim starts to give it’s welcome warble, I lift the rod and feel a heavy, slow moving fish swimming away from the dam wall about 30 yards away, Perry happened to be walking up the bank at the same time so came into my swim to give some assistance. This fish felt better than the previous, slow moving, heavy, just keeping a constant pressure on the rod, not chasing about the swim like a young blood. It kept taking line in short powerful bursts, but constant pressure bought the fish back just for it to make another try for the opposite bank. After a few minutes of this 'slugging it out' the carp was ready for the net, we could both see this was a nice fish and may go 40.
On the scales this mirror weighed 45lb 8oz, good condition with a nice solid frame, things were looking better.
It’s strange how the afternoon seemed a good time of the dam wall, I went to take another two fish from the same area before packing up early Saturday morning, a 25lb mirror and a 27lb 8oz mirror, Steve managed a 32lb 8oz mirror but unfortunately Perry only managed the one fish, yes the 1lb common. But hey that’s fishing, if we thought we would only catch a tiddler during a week in France putting up with freezing November conditions then I am sure we wouldn’t go, but then on another occasion we could be up for some big fish, I’ve said it before and no doubt will again, ‘you won’t catch em sitting at home’.
If you fancy giving La Fonte a try here is the website www.lafontefrance.com All the details are there give John a ring.
I would not hesitate to suggest this venue to anyone as the service and food is of a very high standard and John will always help if needed.